Centrum awarded $45K grant from national endowment

PORT TOWNSEND — Centrum has been approved for a Grants for Arts Projects award of $45,000 by the National Endowment for the Arts.

The grant will support Centrum’s Fiddle Tunes workshops and its Acoustic Blues festivals.

Fiddle Tunes features tradition-bearers representing geographically specific musical styles like Kentucky bluegrass, Cape Breton music, Texas swing and other regional folk traditions.

During the first week in July, faculty and participants take part in more than 100 workshops, 15-20 band labs and multiple public performances.

The Acoustic Blues festival delves into the music and traditions of Black American folk blues, its roots, forerunners and their stories.

One of only two acoustic blues festivals in America, it features 22 musician faculty members teaching 60 classes, five student ensembles, four faculty showcases and a public concert with an audience of 1,800 people.

“Projects like Centrum’s Fiddle Tunes and Acoustic Blues programs exemplify the creativity and care with which communities are telling their stories, creating connection, and responding to challenges and opportunities in their communities — all through the arts,” said Maria Rosario Jackson, the endowment’s chair. “So many aspects of our communities such as cultural vitality, health and well-being, infrastructure and the economy are advanced and improved through investments in art and design, and the National Endowment for the Arts is committed to ensuring people across the country benefit.”

The NEA plans to award more than $37 million to 1,135 programs during the second round of 2024 Grants for Arts Projects.

“We are honored to be a part of the NEA’s commitment to the folk and traditional art forms that Centrum has long celebrated through programs like Fiddle Tunes and Acoustic Blues,” said Robert Birman, Centrum’s executive director. “Both these events have been passing music and heritage from standard-bearers to younger generations for decades, preserving the special folkways and artistry that are so important to the fabric of our lives and culture.”

The National Endowment for the Arts was established in Congress in 1965 as an independent federal agency. It has become the largest funder of the arts and arts education in communities nationwide and a catalyst of public and private support for the arts.

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